Is This Not the Carpenter?

So I guess the news is out!  My forthcoming book with Thomas Thompson is nearly here!

Blurb from the publisher:

For some time, New Testament scholarship, particularly in its conservative and evangelical wings, have avoided direct questions regarding the historicity of Jesus. Many have followed Rudolf Bultmann, who had suggested that “The Jesus Christ who is God’s Son, a pre-existent divine being, is at the same time a certain historical person, Jesus of Nazareth…” (1941). This has become a mantra, which, today, is accepted and hardly questioned by most scholars, who, accordingly, have lost sight of the context of the literature of the New Testament, ignoring the theological emulations, allusions, and edifying functions of many of the Gospel narratives, the epistles, pastorals, and the book of Revelation. The presupposition of historicity supports an historical interpretation of the texts and makes alternative explanations for allegories, edifications, eponyms and allusions unnecessary. With the assumption of such figures as Jesus, Paul and the disciples as historical, significant intentions which are implicit to our texts are frequently ignored or misunderstood and whole subtexts are created which might never have existed in the past

We are faced with an endless production of works on the historical Jesus, without a clear engagement of historical methods and little discussion of the central question of the function of these texts. This study presents a dialogue, which raises the question of historicity directly, much as the so-called Copenhagen school successfully raised similar questions as to the historicity of the figures of the patriarchs and other origin traditions of the Hebrew Bible. The volume questions of the value of current trends of historical Jesus scholarship, presents a new perspective regarding the exegesis of the books of the New Testament (and primarily Paul as our “earliest testimony” to the figure of Jesus) and outlines the implications of the literary function of the rewritten Bible.

Find out more information about it here.

5 Responses

  1. Hey Tom, the website for the book (Equinox) says that the publication date is December 2011. Are these blog posts a big tease or is that date a typo? Don’t make us wait another year, please.

  2. Once it goes to press, it’s out of the hands of the editors. I’ll have a better idea of when its release date is later in the month or early next month.

  3. Born Under the Law: Intertextuality and the Question of the Historicity of the Figure of Jesus in Paul’s Epistles

    – interesting title.

    Have you read The Gnostic Paul by Elaine Pagels? She is Professor of Religion at Princeton University. It is a very good analysis of the doctrinal conflict in the early church over interpretation of Paul’s writings on Christ.

    I wrote a review –

  4. Yes, I have read her book. But her book and my paper are not the same. Her book focuses on the gnostic rendering of the text from late antiquity, around the second and third centuries. Her exegesis is also from that of the Gnostics using those codices from Nag Hammadi to supplement the heresiologist understanding of the Gnostic beliefs during the time. In other words, her book exegetes the Pauline epistles from a theological perspective later than my own, which is a retrieval of Christian understanding of the epistles going back to when Paul first wrote them. Pagels and I take on two separate periods with two different Christianities.

  5. […] Copenhagen biblical scholar Thomas L. Thompson and his biblioblogging acolyte, Thomas S. Verenna (The Musings of Thomas Verenna). It provokes intrigue from James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix) and an amusing description of […]

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